The Lean methodology
Driving improvement through constant innovation
In any organisation, it’s a business owner or line manager’s responsibility to meet various goals, such as revenue, efficiency, customer and employee satisfaction, lead time, and compliance targets.
To achieve these goals, new processes must be designed and implemented on a regular basis. Which makes that business owners are responsible for creating and overseeing several design aspects of the organisation as a whole.
Faced with this challenge, the Lean methodology serves the business owner in two important ways: It helps them to get a firm grip on their processes, and it serves to identify vital improvement opportunities.
The central question behind Lean improvement is 'what value does it add for the customer or organisation?'. To make sure this remains the focus, a series of gradual improvement proposals is used to uncover and eradicate inefficiency and improve outcomes.
From Agile development to Agile business design
In Agile working methodologies, these improvement proposals are called ‘epics’, ‘features’ and ‘user stories’. A backlog of these proposals is created and prioritised based on the value they add to the business.
Separate from the business owner, a product owner within an Agile methodology is tasked with prioritising and realising software changes that create value. These iterative enhancements each result in a workable software product for the user, known as a 'minimum viable product'.
Similar to Agile development is something called Agile business design, which is a new development that helps connect the worlds of the business owner and product owner.
From a business owner’s perspective, it is important that the implementation of new software produces a good workable process. One that remains compliant with internal and external requirements and delivers an improvement for the customer and the organisation.
In addition, frameworks must remain in place required to drive the process (e.g. KPI's, risks, work stocks, etc.). In other words, the business owner thinks in terms of an improvement to the current process – one that can be executed and managed in an orderly fashion. We call this a 'minimum viable process'.
Agile business design places the minimum viable process central to all activities, with business owners feeding the product owner with improvement proposals for the Agile teams.
In both the wider organisation and the Agile teams, there is a third essential role that ensures success in these areas – that of the business designer.
The business designer (or business analist) will help the business owner to detect, analyse and draw up improvement proposals, work out the minimum viable process and keep an eye on all aspects of the project.
They will also support the product owner and the Agile team with the business knowledge, process knowledge and iterative design improvements needed to optimise results.
Want to know more about this working method? Download the 'Agile Business Design' whitepaper in Dutch, here.